Helsinki “Monetising Digital: Show Me the Money” Conference Report


Tuesday afternoon Heather and I made the rounds to all the social venues including Sanoma Digital HQ, the hosts for the Helsinki conference, to ensure all was in order for the upcoming days! A huge THANK YOU to Sanoma Digital for hosting a superb conference as well as arranging the gorgeous tropical weather for the ICMA delegation!


The ICMA Board of Directors meeting took place Wednesday morning focusing on the current state of ICMA and how to ensure we continue to stay relevant and competitive for the future. Thank you to Gillian Muessig, CEO of Outlines Venture Group | cofounder of Moz, & Anne F. Kennedy, President, Outlines Venture Group and Author & International Speaker, for joining in the last hour of the Board Meeting to provide some additional valuable thought-provoking ideas.

Wednesday afternoon welcomed 28 attendees to the “Creating Killer Content Brands” Boot Camp facilitated by Andrew Davis, Best-selling Author & Marketing Speaker, which kicked off at 14:00 at the Sanoma Digital HQ. We are delighted to report it received top marks from the attendees, with 96% stating it is a valuable addition to the ICMA conferences. The session offered practical hands -on tips with the delegates returning home with a unique hook designed to ensnare and entrap their unsuspecting audience i.e.” The Chicken Whisperer”, a promotional strategy designed to set a clear expectation for their audience, a list of 10 specifically targeted to drive new revenues – just to name a few! Due to the enormous success, ICMA will continue these smaller pre-conference specialised Boot Camps at future conferences.

Nearly 130 delegates from 24 countries received a very warm welcome from Martha de la Torre, CEO of El Clasificado and Chair of ICMA, setting the good vibe for the full conference. She introduced our four new members, first time attendees, and highlighted the continual support of associate members and vendors!


Click Performance Group continues to surprise us with their sponsorship ideas. Thursday morning the delegates arrived to find their very own Click Performance Group mug to enjoy their morning cup of joe. Martha de la Torre kicked off the session with the Chairperson’s welcome sharing her insights from her recent visit to Google HQ – “MOBILE IS EVERYTHING”, “BRAND IS THE NEW SEO” and had people working on their Klout scores – offering up prizes each morning for the attendee with the highest Klout!
Peter Lamb took on the emcee role for the morning keynote welcoming Andrew Davis, Best-selling Author & Marketing Speaker to the stage. Andrew spoke about “Unbundled: The New Revenue” highlighting that it is all about building a content brand. “Valuable content inspires people to buy something they didn’t know they needed,” which was a stellar kick-off to on how to “Show Me The Money!” Marco Jo Rodzynek, CEO, NOAH Advisors, was up next discussing Revenue Models for Monetisation. A few top take-aways from Marco’s presentation was “Selling Complex Stories in Simple Words at High Prices,” and “Classifieds are the Holy Grail on the internet.”

After the coffee break Peter welcomed Alper Akcan, Founder & CEO of 3Pay to discuss Making Money via Mobile Payments stating “Mobile is everything for Classified Media.” The Cashless Transactions Fireside Chat followed, with Burak Ertas, CEO of moderating the session of industry leaders Greg Kidd, Chief Risk Officer of Ripple Labs discussing Bitcoin, David Pope European Marketing Director of Jumio sharing how to conduct mobile transactions without a single keystroke, Caimir Ehrnrooth, County Manager of Klarna sharing how Klarna Checkout can help classifieds sell and a last minute addition of John Nagel, CEO of AdVoucher informing the delegation about the Red Dot Network, a new payment platform where goods and services can be purchased effortlessly. The verdict is in, the digital wallet is making transactions even easier confirming that mobile technology is essential to monetise digitally.

Sharing Best Practice

The “Sharing Best Practice” sessions continue to be the top rated sessions of the conference! The Business Leaders session had an overall score of 94%! Sales received 92% and Technology 83% overall ratings. A sincere thank you to the Martha de la Torre, Lenka Cerna, Marja-Leena Tuomola, Markus Binderbauer, Rob Paterson, Gabriela Martin del Campo, Laura Pitkanen and Jouni Lehti who facilitated each group’s discussions. We are also delighted to inform you that we have something even better in store for Athens this fall. Allowing for even more participation thus more benefit for all attendees! Stay tuned!

“Learn From the Experts” Vendor Panel

The first 5 registered exhibitors were invited to join the vendor panel Moderated by Lenka Cerna, CEO of Annonce, which welcomed Heinz Schwyter, CEO of Homegate to share more information on their new tools to market better real estate projects. Kirsi Johansson, Sales Director from Fiare Oy, discussed their services which offer a unique combination of strong business understanding, multi-channel market reach and technical expertise. Hassan van de Riet, Sales Director EMEA from ThreatMetrix shared information on their Cybercrime Protection Platform. Sylvain Lamblot, VP Sales from Besedo discussed their online Classifieds moderation and fraud/abuse management system. Tamas Motajcsek, Classifieds Expert and Business Development Manager from Gravity R&D shared how they improve the user experience with Big Data analytics and real-time personalization.

The evening had us off to Viikinkiravintola Harald where we enjoyed an evening fit for Vikings – with our very own Felix Erken being the chosen one for Viking baptism, which there was mention of eating a bit of rotten shark… (So sorry Felix!) With that all said and done, what else was there to do on a gorgeous sunny evening in Helsinki other than hit the town!



Martha de la Torre chaired the Members Meeting which discussed the current state of ICMA and where the Board of Directors and Head Office are in formulating a strategy for moving forward in revamping ICMA for the future. We also welcome Heinz Schwyter, CEO of Homegate to the Board of Directors who was voted in unanimously. Thank you to those who participated in this meeting and we continue to welcome any feedback and suggestions you have to improve upon the Association.


Friday kicked off with Gillian Muessig, CEO of Outlines Venture Group | cofounder of Moz, USA and Anne F. Kennedy, President, Outlines Venture Group and Author & International Speaker with their session on “Kickstarting Growth for Classified-based Tech Companies – Install a business operating system to ensure survival and growth.” Next on deck were Elias Chavando, Managing Partner, Applied Marketing Strategies and Felix Erken, MD, Junk Mail Publishing sharing very relevant case studies on Successful Monetisation which was one of the top rated sessions of the conference. Well done!


The second session of the day kicked off with Brendan King, Co-Founder and CEO, VendAsta discussing how to become a digital agency.” The holy grail is to become the most reputable digital agency before anyone else can.” Next up was Nikita Smits, Hubspot, Senior Channel Consultant who presented Lead Generation Tools. The final morning session had us dive deeper into the current state of M&A’s in the classifieds industry with Marja-Leena Tuomola, Sanoma Digital, COO moderating the following panelists: Markus Binderbauer, Bazar, CEO; Rob Paterson, Russmedia, Head of Business Development and Internationalisation; Marko Luoma, ICECAPITAL Securities Ltd, Partner; Tim Scholte, Mascus, CEO. Captivating discussion ensued hitting on some of the following questions “Are we now on the top of the hype curve, will it cool off soon or is this just the beginning?” “What would be the reasons to pay a premium for a classified site (in addition to being #1 on the market)?” and “What should ICMA publishers consider if they want to acquire other classified sites?” to name a few.


Martha de la Torre then presented Marja-Leena Tuomola with a hand- painted Delft plate specially made for Sanoma Digital stating “Sanoma Digital Hosts of ICMA 2014 Conference” and thanked the entire Sanoma Digital team for a fabulous welcome to Helsinki!


The afternoon was taken up with five rotating round-table workshops on Building Real Time Bidding (RTB), Turn Big Data into dollars: Personalization on classifieds sites, Monetising Social Media, Mobile Insights – Monetisation and Analytics, Strategic Growth – Designing and Building the Company You Want, which delegates could attend three of the five.


Matej Novak, Czech Publisher Exchange, Managing Director took on the Building Real Time Bidding session discussing adwords vs. RTB as well as opportunities and threats. ICMA Associate Member Domonkos Tikk, Gravity R&D, CEO, Hungary brought onboard Krisztián Holló, Online Marketing Manager, Arkon Zrt and Gabor Reszler, Head of Product Development, Schibsted Classified Media providing personal testimonials on how to turn the mysterious Big Data into real dollars for your classifieds site. The Monetising Social Media workshop was run by Millie Khanna, CEO at TaleSpinners, New Delhi India; Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Outlines Venture Group informing delegates of how to Monetise the priceless. The Mobile Insights – Monetisation and Analytics was run by Frederic Hansen, International Sales & Business Development Manager, Click Performance Group, sharing how monetize multi-screen interactions and 4 keys to success for mobile ads. Gillian Muessig, CEO of Outlines Venture Group | cofounder of Moz and Anne F. Kennedy, President, Outlines Venture Group Author and International Speaker discussed Strategic Growth – designing and building the company you want.

Friday night was left free for ICMA delegates to make their own plans, in which seeing from the Saturday morning attendance it seems some enjoyed the evening well into the morning hours (which in all fairness is hard to decipher when it is only dark 2 hours of the night) to the fullest! (A little Finnish Karaoke anyone?!)


Business Leaders’ Forum (BLF)

The BLF was co-chaired by Carl Ferrer, CEO of and Martha de la Torre, CEO, El Clasificado. The BLF shared best practices of payment processing and digital payments as well as UX and Mobile, CDN’s / the Cloud and video.

Business Operations Forum (BOF)

The Helsinki BOF co-chaired by Rob Paterson, Russmedia, Head of Business Development and Internationalisation, and Gaby Martin, El Clasificado, Senior Director, Digital Operations kicked – off with a lively discussion and debate on Business Assumptions that are dealt with on a daily basis. A case study on content marketing was presented, providing a challenging session requiring solid teamwork and loads of new insights and take away’s by all participants.

Sales Managers Workshop (SMW)

The SMW was chaired by co-chair by Peter Lamb, President of Lamb Consulting from the USA and Tomasz Odrobinski, International Sales Director, Quoka GmbH. The Helsinki Sales Managers Workshop covered lead generation, activity tracking, top CRM tools, account management to the recruitment of top sales reps and how to keep them onboard. The attendees were able to discuss in detail the challenges with global classifieds Sales Managers and came up with some solid solutions to be implemented upon return to the office.


The Sanoma Gala Party was held at the Ravintola Sipuli Wintergarden with stunning views of the Russian Church. A memorable evening was had by all, especially those enjoying wonderful conversations on the outdoor terrace as well as those who were doing the “Happy” dance all night long (many of whom were just returning home as I was leaving to catch my flight at 5 am!!)

Thank you to the outstanding speakers, facilitators and chairpersons for ensuring another outstanding ICMA Conference! Once again a special thank you to Sanoma Digital Team for hosting an outstanding conference! As well as the associate members and vendors, the ICMA Future Leaders Network and the ICMA Board of Directors for all of their support. And of course all of you who make ICMA the one of a kind Association it is today!

We look forward to seeing you all again at the ICMA autumn conference taking place in Athens, Greece (dates & theme still to be confirmed.)

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